1,500 Saudi militants freed after counselling

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Dubai, Nov 26 (UNI) Saudi Arabia counselling committees have succeeded in influencing 1500 Islamic militants to renounce their extremist beliefs and have released them after intensive counselling sessions, Al Watan reported.

The freed were convinced of their wrong ideology after a three year-long-campaign and have backtracked from their previous slogan of driving infidels outside the Arabian Peninsula.

The counselling committees convened more than 5,000 sessions for some 3,200 prisoners suspected of embracing militant ideologies, Dr Mohammad Al Nujaimi, member of one of the counselling committees, said.

''As many as 1,500 people who have been advised by the committee and who backtracked from their ideologies were set free,'' he added.

The paper did not clarify if the rest had refused to renounce the ideology of ''takfeer'' branding other Muslims as infidels in order to legitimise violence against them.

In 2004, Saudi Arabia established these committees, whose tasks were to encourage prisoners to renounce their extremist beliefs. The committees comprised more than 100 Muslim scholars and Islamic faith specialists as well as 30 psychiatrists, sociologists and psychologists.

He said the counselling session focused on explaining the ideologies adopted by the militants like Jihad, which labels Muslim rulers and scholars as well as other people as infidels and calls for establishing an Islamic state.


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